Ahmed al-Jabari, commander of Hamas’ military wing in Gaza, has been blown up by Israel in a targeted airstrike.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that Jabari is “the most senior Hamas figure to be killed for four years.”
Israel on Wednesday destroyed a car carrying Jabari in retaliation for recent rocket fire launched from Gaza into Israel.
Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, made this statement:
Jabari was responsible for financing and directing military operations and attacks against Israel. His elimination today is a message to Hamas officials in Gaza that if they continue promoting terrorism against Israel, they will be hurt.
The Chronicle reported this was among several retaliatory strikes in a new IDF operation called Pillar of Defence:
Further air strikes reportedly took place over Khan Younis and Rafah. Some media reports suggested Israel had also hit Hamas-run police stations in the Gaza Strip.
— Sara Hussein (@sarahussein) November 14, 2012
Just yesterday, Israel warned it may resume the practice of assassinating enemy leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday:
Whoever believes they can harm the daily lives of the residents of the south and not pay a heavy price is mistaken. I am responsible for choosing the right time to collect the highest price and so it shall be.
He was also known for personally escorting Gilad Shalit … to Egyptian intermediaries last year as part of a prisoner exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Video of the handoff to Egypt showed Mr. Jabari standing near Mr. Shalit.